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Q&A #174

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Math anxiety

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From: Ginny <ellery@digital.net>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2000073013:59:14
Subject: Helpful tip for parents/students

When working with students as a teacher or tutor, I recommend that the
students/parents make themselves practice tests using homework
problems from the chapter they have been studying (and problems which
they know the correct answers to, usually odd problems in most math
texts).  I then tell them to set a timer for the amount of time they
would have for the test and take their practice test.  Then, check
results.  Any problems they miss, they should rework to find their
mistakes.  This process should be repeated several times before the
actual test.

Another problem that many students have is that they do not understand
directions.  Students should read the directions for types of problems
and then describe the process that they would use to solve that
problem.  Verbalizing the process commits it more to memory than just
doing them.  Have them practice problems using a dry erase board.

Math anxiety has a root cause of lack of confidence.  Another cause is
pressure.  When I was in college, I finally took the pressure off of
myself by saying, "I know I have studied and I will do the best I can
on this test.  If I get I bad grade, I will accept it and move on.  It
is not the end of the world."  Once I started following this
philosophy, my grades improved and my anxiety decreased.

Hope this helps!

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